Leadarise New York was thrilled to welcome Whitney Meers as a guest speaker this week at the Global Action to Prevent War office located in the United Nations. Last month, Whitney Meers was featured as one of our “Young Women to Watch,” you can learn more about her here. The interactive discussion focused on Whitney’s experience switching careers and how setting goals can help us all advance.
Whitney began by asking how many participants wanted a change in their lives—whether it was finding a new job, making a career switch or developing a new skill. “How much time do you spend on career development?” she asked, and for many of us, the answer was quite little. “I challenge you to make time to focus on this and to treat it like an actual meeting.”
She told participants to open their calendars and make a date with themselves, “Make no plans for Tuesday night, and instead of watching that movie you’ve been really wanting to see, take some time and focus on your career development. Think of it like going to the gym,” she explained. “Although you might not want to, you know every time you go, you feel better, and the more you keep up with it, the better you feel.”
Next, she asked participants how they defined professional development. “The answer is unique to each one of us,” but the excuse that you’re “strapped for time” does not work! “If this is an important goal, you have to make time to accomplish it.”
This brought participants to part two of the exercise, which she focused on, “What will help you achieve your goal?” Participants began calling out suggestions, which Whitney wrote on post-it notes. They ranged from gaining proficiency in a skill set, attending classes, networking, meeting with mentors, updating your resume, compiling work samples, having work objectives, taking on more responsibility at work and many more.
While these were all great ideas, it was overwhelming! Whitney explained that with so many options, we often don’t bother with any. We had to prioritize. She suggested that during the time we set aside for career development, to write out the different steps we could take to achieve our goals. Then, prioritize and decide which methods to pursue first. Most importantly, make the commitment to follow through.
Thank you Whitney for the wonderful evening and for inspiring us to make change happen!
By Sarah Reinheimer